The longest-reigning Intercontinental Champion in WWE will take his place in this year’s Hall Of Fame.
WWE announced today, via CBS Sports, that the Honky Tonk Man will be inducted this year. He is one of the glaring omissions from the late 1980s boom period but it wasn’t because WWE didn’t try.
HTM has said in interviews that the company had previously offered to induct him but he turned it down. Something changed because he has accepted their offer to go in this year.
HTM got his start in 1977 and worked in several territories including Memphis and some short stints with Jim Crockett Promotions and the American Wrestling Association.
His big break came when he was signed by the World Wrestling Federation in late 1986. He was actually brought in as a babyface but fans did not react well to the Elvis impersonation gimmick so the decision was made to turn him heel just weeks after his debut.
In 1987, he defeated Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat to win the Intercontinental Championship. Around this time, he was in a bitter feud with “Macho Man” Randy Savage. On an episode of Saturday Night’s Main Event, HTM smashed a guitar of Savage’s head, which was shocking to see at the time. At SummerSlam 1988, he dropped the IC title in a quick match that many would say helped to propel the Ultimate Warrior’s career to the next level.
He was pushed down the card and eventually paired with Greg “The Hammer” Valentine for the Rhythm & Blues tag team before his departure in 1990. HTM popped up in WCW for a short sting in 1994 and then return to the WWF in 1997 as a color commentator on Monday Night Raw and the weekend syndication programming. HTM was also Billy Gunn’s manager for a few months when Billy was known as Rockabilly.
In recent years, he has continued to work some independent matches but modern fans would know him from his shoot interviews where he would tell some brutally honest (and some would say exaggerated) stories about certain people he has met in the business.